The toughest part
of the game for Travis Grayson wasn’t having to maneuver through and around
Michigan City’s swarming pressure defense.
It wasn’t facing a
15-point deficit with under four minutes left or an eight-point margin with
73 seconds to go.
challenging stretch for the Chesterton sophomore guard was the frenzied
final seconds of regulation, which he spent standing on the sidelines with
the game hanging in the balance. Attempting to check in after a timeout,
Grayson initially took the court but had to come back out after the
officials clarified that he couldn’t re-enter without any time having
liked how it turned out, with Alex Schmidt busting a corner 3 to force
overtime, where the momentum from a 15-point comeback carried the Trojans to
a wild 74-68 Duneland Athletic Conference victory.
“What a clutch shot
from Alex,” said Grayson, who spurred the comeback with 17 second-half
points despite being sick and missing the last two days of practice. “At
halftime, he came in the locker room and yelled at us, we have to get it
going. That just clicked with me. I told myself, we’re not losing this game.
I came in with that type of mentality. My teammates helped me, they got me
Down 13 late in the
third quarter, Chesterton made a run to pull within five at 6:54 of the
fourth. City countered to blow the game back open at 58-43 but a frantic
rally saw the Trojans erase the margin, which still stood at eight (58-50)
with 73 seconds to go.
they’ve got to get better at some things, but I also understand they’re
pretty tough and can find a way,” Chesterton coach Marc Urban said.
“(City’s) good. They took us out of some things, then we get into our spots
and they’re doubling Jake (Wadding). They press the entire time and get into
you. We’ve got to find a way to score. We’ve got to hit free throws, but
give our kids credit. They battled and found a way.”
Grayson scored 12
points in the crazy fourth quarter, when Chesterton (17-1, 5-0) finally
found some offense after managing just seven baskets over the first 24
minutes. The Trojans lived at the foul line, registering almost half of
their three-quarter total (31) from 15 feet.
“Coach always says
someone has to step up and make plays,” Grayson said.
“We were cleaning
up on the glass,” Urban added. “Travis’ ability to get downhill and get to
the rim, he’s a special player. He stepped up. He was finishing.”
trailed in the OT, where Schmidt made 6-of-8 free throws in the last 2:18.
For City and Wolves coach Tom Wells, it was a fittingly symbolic ending to a
game in which they were out-shot 42-9 and outscored 31-4 at the charity
“You don’t see that
very often,” Wells said, carefully choosing his words more than he did
during a sideline scolding to one of the officials. “I’ve done it long
enough, the officiating end of it. It’s hard to feel good about those
nights. You’ve got both coaches on your (butt), everybody’s going to remind
you, it’s 42-10, 42-10, 42-10. Our response to adversity, our poise, was
horrendous. We really lost our composure. It was almost a complete, total
meltdown of emotions. We got way too loose with the basketball, which is
surprising because we have so many guards who like to play north and south.”
Even so, the Wolves
escape with a win if the Trojans don’t go 10 of 14 from the floor in the
“Boy, did they make
a bunch of plays,” Wells said. “We were really good (earlier). We just
disrupted them so much.”
MC used a 21-9
second quarter to go to the half in control at 30-17. Chesterton had 10
turnovers in the span with City doing most of its damage in transition,
while surrounding Wadding on the inside.
“I thought we did a
good job of keeping them in front, we just gave them so many live-ball
turnovers, that really killed us,” Urban said. “We were having so many empty
possessions. Every game we’ve played, there’s been a learning aspect to it,
but I’m really proud of the kids to keep the DAC hopes alive.”
Schmidt (22) and Wadding (16 with eight rebounds) did the bulk of the
scoring, combining to make 29-of-40 free throws. Tyler Vanderwoude also
popped a trey in a 13-0 fourth-quarter surge that turned an apparent runaway
into a thriller.
“We’re a group of
fighters,” Grayson said. “I’ll take my guys over anybody. I just want to
continue to fight with my guys. Hopefully, we go pretty far. It was a fun
Jamie Hodges, Jr.
7-11 2-5 16, Omarion Hatch 4-6 0-0 8, Evan Bush 6-9 0-0 13, Donye’ Grant 0-1
1-2 1, Caron McKinney 3-9 0-0 6, Jose Jenkins, Jr. 3-4 0-0 6, Tahari Watson
4-9 0-0 9, Dez Hawkins 4-10 1-2 9, Shelley Miller, Jr. 0-0 0-0 0, Jalen
Bullock 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 31-60 4-9 68.
Jake Warren 3-7 2-2
8, Jake Wadding 4-10 8-11 16, Alex Schmidt 5-11 10-13 22, Charlie Eaton 0-1
0-0 0, Travis Grayson 7-13 11-15 25, Sean Elliott 0-3 0-0 0, Tyler
Vanderwoude 1-1 0-0 3, Malcolm Harper 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-46 31-42 74.
goals: Michigan City 2 (Bush, Hatch); Chesterton 3 (Schmidt 2, Vanderwoude).
Leaders -- Rebounds: Bush 7 (MC), Wadding 8 (C). Assists: Hatch 5 (MC).
Steals: Hawkins 3 (MC), Grayson 2, Wadding 2 (C).